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Why does my dog smell bad after getting neutered?

You got your dog neutered. You bring them home, prepared to take extra care of them as they recover. However, you notice they smell bad. What’s going on? Should you be worried? 

Why does my dog smell bad after getting neutered?

There are many reasons why a dog can smell bad, but only a few that can be caused by neutering. These range from infection to simple bad breath. 

Normal Smell From Discharge 

This is usually worse with female dogs, but it can occur with males as well. As they recover, they will have some slight discharge. This can give off an odor. 

This can occur during normal circumstances as well. However, you probably give your dog a bath on a regular basis. They also keep their own testicles clean, quickly removing any discharge before it can become stinky. 

After neutering, your dog will need to wear a cone or other device to prevent them from licking the area. This is essential to prevent your dog from biting or licking their stitches. However, it also prevents them from cleaning themselves. 

You are also restricted from giving your dog a bath during this time. So, there’s an increase in discharge after neutering, combined with the fact that you and your dog can’t clean the area as you normally would. 

It’s a combination that can easily make a stink. 


The more concerning reason your dog may smell is infection at the incision site. If the smell gets worse as the days go by, this can also indicate an infection. Of course, it could also be the lack of a bath increasing the odor. 

However, the scent itself is also important. If the smell is yeasty or fishy, this is likely a sign of infection.  

In the day or two after surgery, you may notice some redness and swelling. If the incision becomes very red or swollen, or gets worse as time goes on, this is a sign of infection. 

Bacteria causes increased blood flow to the area, which causes the area to become hot. If your dog’s incision is hot to the touch, it’s probably due to infection. 

Another sign is leaking or pus from the incision. If you notice fluid or pus coming from the incision, it may be infected. 

Lastly, you should monitor how your pooch feels. It’s normal for them to be a bit lethargic in the day or two after surgery. However, if they are lethargic several days after surgery, or have a fever, this can also be a sign of infection.  

Bad Breath 

A more benign cause of a bad smell after neutering is bad breath. When your dog undergoes anesthesia, this greatly reduces saliva production. Saliva helps keep your dog’s mouth free of bacteria. 

Dry mouth due to anesthesia can lead to bad breath because it allows bacteria to grow. This usually isn’t serious.

Pee Problems 

It’s possible that your dog is having some issues with peeing, particularly if they smell like pee after being neutered. It can take them a day or two to be back to their normal selves. When they are recovering, they may have difficulty controlling their urine. They may have accidents, or simply dribble on themselves. 

Again, they aren’t able to groom themselves as they would normally. This can cause the pee to stay on their fur, causing an odor. 

Chemicals Used 

If your pooch smells strange when they first come home, this is probably due ot the chemicals used during the procedure. Iodine or alcohol used to sterilize the area can cause a lingering odor. 

The anesthesia itself can also give off an odor, particularly as your dog’s body processes the chemicals. They are working their way through your dog’s body, and out. This can lead to a strange smell. 

What to do if my dog stinks after getting neutered?

If your dog stinks after getting neutered, of course you want to fix it. There are a few ways to remedy it, depending on the cause of the odor. 

Normal Odor 

Just because the odor is normal doesn’t mean it’s easy to tolerate. It can be quite strong and offputting. It’s natural to want to rid your dog, and yourself, of this assault on your nose. 

One way to do this is with grooming wipes. You can’t give your dog a bath during the recovery period, but you can use wipes. These should be able to remove any discharge from your dog’s private area and fur, and the odor along with it. 

It may not remove all the odor, but it should at least reduce it significantly. You can use grooming wipes daily. 

You can also use dog perfume. These sprays are designed to smell good and neutralize offensive odors. They are also dog safe. 

If you prefer the natural route, you can make your own spray. To do this, mix 2 cups of distilled water with 2 tablespoons of glycerin. Add 1 tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil or olive oil. 

Next, you’ll add essential oils. Lavender and orange are a great combination. You can also use either of these alone, eucalyptus, peppermint, or francincense, ginger, or rosemary. 

Chemical Odor or Urine 

If your pooch has a chemical odor, you can try using grooming wipes or doggie perfume. These should reduce or eliminate the odor temporarily, and it should fade fairly soon on its own. 

If urine is the issue, this should also stop when they are back on their feet. In the meantime, use grooming wipes to keep them clean and odor free. 


If you suspect that the area is becoming infected, you’ll need to make a trip to the vet as soon as possible. An infection can be relatively minor. However, if it gets into the bloodstream, it will cause sepsis. This can be fatal if not treated. 

Because it can turn into a lifethreatening systematic infection, it’s best to take any infection very seriously. Post-surgical infections are more concerning, because there’s a deep wound into your dog’s body. 

Bad Breath 

If the overpowering odor is coming from your pooch’s mouth, you’ll need to do some oral care. 

Brushing your dog’s teeth is a great first step. Be sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs.

However, if your dog isn’t used to having their teeth brushed, this isn’t the best time to start. You don’t want them struggling against you and pulling stitches. If you brush their teeth and their breath still smells, you’ll need to try other options.  

Cleaning toys and treats are another option. You can also give them some yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics, which can increase the amount of good bacteria in your dog’s system. This reduces the bad bacteria, which can cause odor. 

You can purchase dental additives that simply go in your dog’s water. These are simple to use, and won’t cause any harm. You can also slip some parsley or dill into their favorite food. These herbs help freshen breath. 

If your pooch’s breath still smells foul, you should visit your vet. They may have an infection in their mouth causing the odor, or a dental issue like gingivitis.